Cañon City is one of the most well-known fossil areas in the U.S. Packed full of prehistoric history, fossils and insight as to the creatures that roamed this region of Colorado millions of years ago. Here are just a few the stops to dig up a little dinosaur fun before, or after a visit to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park.
Skyline Drive – Drive your passenger car on a road that ascends and follows the top of a high razorback ridge overlooking Cañon City. Enter this one-way, paved road from US 50 on the west edge of town. Soon the landscape falls away hundreds of feet on both sides, which is just a bit hair-raising! Cañon City spreads out on both sides of you and there are pullouts to enjoy the view. Towards the top, there is an interpretive display to help you see dinosaur tracks embedded in the cliff face.
Garden Park Fossil Area – Garden Park Fossil Area is one of the most productive and historically important locations in the United States for the study of Late Jurassic dinosaurs. Fossil hunters and scientists from across the country have dug in Garden Park since 1877, when the nearby town of Cañon City, Colorado was still young. Important discoveries include the first complete skeleton of Allosaurus, some of the most complete Stegosaurus skeletons, as well as the first known remains of dinosaurs like Camarasaurus, Ceratosaurus, and Diplodocus.
Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center – The museum offers a rich look into the history of the region and its people. Many of the items on display at the former Dinosaur Resource Center, which closed a few years back, now call the museum home. Enjoy an array of prehistoric related items including the well-known replica dinosaurs.
Posted in Adventure, Family Friendly, Royal Gorge Region | Tagged Colorado Dinosaur, Colorado Fossils, Colorado Vacation, Dinosaur Tracks, Family Travel, Prehistoric, Skyline Drive
There’s so much for families and little ones to enjoy at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, including our new Junior Ranger program. Make sure to grab a children’s activity sheet, included in the purchase of a 4-11 year old ticket. The sheet helps navigate the entire Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. When complete, turn it in at the Express Lane inside the Visitor Center to receive an authentic Junior Ranger Badge that’s perfect for show and tell.
Who says learning can’t be fun?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the scale and grandeur of the park, especially when you visit for the first time. There are so many wonderful attractions that it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller, more secluded areas. Some of these spots offer fabulous, sweeping and unobstructed views of the bridge. You’ll also capture the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the immense Royal Gorge. If you’re trying to snag some stellar photos of these amazing sights, here are five great spots to set up your camera and capture the landscape.
There are plenty of amazing photo opportunities in the park, but please remember to observe warning signs and don’t climb around or over protective barriers that signify “off-limits” areas. We always have guest safety top of mind.
1. By far one of the best places to take photos at the park is from Point Sublime. Located on the south side of the park next to the Skycoaster, this historic landmark has offered visitors a grand view of the area for decades. From this point, you can capture the bridge, the gorge, the Arkansas River and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. It is an awesome sight to see, and one that is great fun to catch any time of day. In the morning, the cliffs and bridge will be illuminated, and you have the best chance of being alone in the pavilion. However, as the sun sets over the mountains, photo opportunities are stunning as well.
2. Looking for an unobstructed view of the bridge? Walk down to the theater, past the picnic tables toward the perimeter fence. From here, you’ll get a fantastic view of the bridge, the gorge, and the entire Arkansas River Valley to the north. This particular spot is great in the morning or midday, as the sun is hitting the east-facing cliff faces and you can really capture the varied topography.
3. If it’s your first time on the bridge, you may be overwhelmed with the height and distance of the structure. Once you acclimate yourself to being 1,100 feet above the Arkansas River, don’t forget to look around! The bridge offers an array of opportunities to capture a unique or interesting perspective in photographs. Utilize the cables, the height, and even the spaces between the boards to create an interesting and abstract photograph.
4. Before you even enter the park, head toward the historic Denver and Rio Grande train engine and walk out onto the viewing platform. From here, you get a grand view of the gorge, the bridge, and the surrounding landscape. Then take a walk down the gravel path (watch your step) and wander around. You’ll find several great spots to snap a photo from various vantage points.
5. After you leave the Visitor Center and head toward the bridge, take a moment to find the old Incline overlook. The Incline may be gone (we’re working on a replacement attraction), but the overlook remains and permits a fabulous view of the mountains in the distance. This point provides some great foreground material, middle and distant points to create a dynamic shot. Try this point in the evening or on a cloudy day when the sun is setting over the mountains.
Kiddos of all ages will enjoy a trip to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. They’ll surely light right up when they hop aboard the Silver Rock Railway mini train. Included with admission, the one mile route on these open-air cars is a chance for the whole family to sit back before taking on the day. Be sure to hit the restrooms just inside the new Visitor Center before enjoying all the rides and adventure.
Stop by the Waterclock for a lesson on time and mechanics before climbing inside the new aerial gondolas for a scenic trip across the Royal Gorge, also included with admission. Stroll over to the Plaza Theater for some history on the man-made wonder of the bridge and history of the region. Throughout the summer months, talented aerial performer April Vollm and the magic of Christian Augustine mesmerize.
There’s no better way to stretch growing legs and burn off some energy than on the new giant Children’s Playland. Laughter and games are guaranteed on this two-story structure with ropes, slides, nets and even a maze. For a small fee, a great memento can be created inside the wax hand shop. The splashpad is a great way to cool down on a warm summer day. Everyone can pick their favorite horse on the beautiful new vintage-style carousel for 360 degree views.
Once they’ve had their fill, cross the Bridge on the way back to the Visitor Center. Make sure they find their state flag and plaque to grab a necessary snapshot for the scrapbook. Too tired to make the trek back? Grab the people mover back to homebase. There’s plenty to keep everyone busy and dont forget, littles under three get in for free. Discounted admission can also be purchased online prior to arriving.
Posted in Family Friendly, Rides & Attractions | Tagged Aerial Gondolas, children’s attractions, Colorado Day Trips, Colorado Vacation, Family Travel, Family Travel in Colorado, Family Vacation, mini train, play area,royal gorge, Things to do in Colorado
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is decked out in red, white, and blue to celebrate Independence Day, July 3-6, with special entertainment for a fun four-day weekend, said Mike Bandera, Vice-President and General Manager.
This will be the first Fourth of July the park is able to offer a fully-open park since the Royal Gorge Fire of 2013. “Adventure, good food, and awesome scenery is a good way to celebrate this summer holiday,” said Bandera.
The Geezers will be playing every day from 12:30 to 4:30 on the Entertainment Stage right next to Bridge View BBQ featuring sodas, suds, and barbecue. Zany Paint face painters will be at the newly-opened Children’s Playland, 12:30 to 4:30, free for kids.
The new Giant Children’s Playland for kids ages 5-12 is the newest attraction to open in the park, said Bandera. The Playland features a two-story climbing structure, with nets, slides, and bridges, and sits next to the Carousel (for kids of all ages!), a Maze, Splash Pad water feature, and the Wax Hand shop.
General Admission includes the brand new Aerial Tramway, special shows at the Plaza Theater, the Magic of Christian Augustine, and the April Vollm Show, featuring acrobatics and silks, North America’s Highest Suspension Bridge and several other features. Two thrill rides, the highest zip line in America, the Royal Gorge Cloudscraper by Zip Rider fly’s guests across the Royal Gorge, 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River, and the World’s Scariest Skycoaster, the Royal Rush, sitting on the edge of the Royal Gorge are available as extra pay attractions with admission.
Café 1230 with a deck hanging 1,230 feet over the Royal Gorge has lunch, snacks, beverages, a full service bar, and dinner served from 5-7 pm.
Admission for adults is $23, Seniors, 60+, $21, and Children 4-11, $18. An automatic $2 discount is available for those guests who pre-purchase online tickets www.royalgorgebridge.com. Royal Rush Skycoaster tickets are $25 for one rider, $25 for two, and $60 for three riders. The Royal Gorge Cloudscraper is $40 per rider. Park hours are 9:30 am- 7:00 pm, July 3-6. For more information call 888-333-5597.
Seeking thrills and heart-pumping fun? There are plenty of ways to catch an adrenaline high in the Royal Gorge region of Colorado. The Arkansas River offers some of the best rafting in the state, and even the country. With rapids ranging from class II-V, there is no lack of whitewater on this river. Book a full day or half day excursion.
The area is well-known for its rich fossil finds and prehistoric history. Make your way up Skyline Drive to view the famous dinosaur tracks. Whether by car, motorcycle or Segway, it can get a bit hairy with no guardrails. However you decide to travel the road, the view is totally worth it.
At the bottom of Skyline Drive, notice the parking area for one of Cañon City’s newest hiking and mountain biking trail system. The system offers users wide dirt paths, singletrack and some technical steep trails. Head up the Graneros trail to meet with Old Skyline Drive, then opt to follow the paved road back down to the bottom or ride the dirt trails back to the parking area. Beginner-level cyclists will enjoy following “Greenhorn” – an easy double-track that runs north to south.
Strap in for a bird’s eye view of the Royal Gorge on the ZipRider Cloudscraper, the highest zip line in North America. Honestly, the day can’t truly end without swinging out on the Royal Rush SkyCoaster. Reach up to 50 mph while swinging stomach-first 1,200 feet above the Arkansas. Make sure to take advantage of the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park’s “High Altitude” package including: bridge admission, the SkyCoaster, and the ZipRider Cloudscraper for a bargain price.
Posted in Adventure, Rides & Attractions, Royal Gorge Region | Tagged Arkansas River, colorado adventure, rafting, royal gorge, Segway, skycoaster, Skyline Drive, zip line
North America’s highest zip line
In the summer of 2013, the Royal Gorge Bridge lost 48 of the 52 structures due to a fire. But in the wake of challenge, there came an opportunity to grow. And grow we did with new rides, new buildings and an overall unforgettable experience. There were no limits to how high the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park could soar. In fact, our new zip line is now the 2nd highest zip line in North America.
With a fact like that and a phoenix story to boot, Ayla Larsen of Vladimir Jones agency set to work creating a name for this new, amazing zip line. A name that would reflect the indomitable spirit of Royal Gorge Bridge & Park and the awe-inspiring scenery surrounding it. In big cities around the globe, there are buildings that are so tall they pierce the sky – skyscrapers.
The incredible height of the new zip line reminded her of these buildings, as if this zip line was the Colorado version of a skyscraper. Only this zipline is an experience, a journey where you can soar above it all and brush the clouds with your fingertips, a perfect example of rising from the ashes and leaving limitations in the dust. And so, Cloudscraper was born.